OAKLAND (California) • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt so confident about his team's prospects against the Chicago Bulls on Friday that he put a rookie into his starting line-up.
The experiment worked well, bolstered by Stephen Curry's crowd-pleasing performance.
He poured in 26 of his game-high 33 points in a second-quarter flurry, propelling the Warriors to a 143-94 thrashing of the Bulls (3-14) in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The 49-point margin of victory was the fourth-largest in Warriors history, and the defeat was the third-largest ever for the Bulls.
The Warriors (14-5) eased to the win - their highest points total this season - despite Kevin Durant sitting out with a sprained ankle and Draymond Green on a scheduled night off.
"We kind of got back to who we are, moving without the ball," Curry said of himself and back-court mate Klay Thompson, who finished with 29 points.
"It's just a matter of having the confidence to knock down shots when they present themselves."
Stephen Curry single-handedly outscored Chicago by five points in the second quarter.
Coming off a 2-2 trip that included an emotional 91-108 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Golden State led just 44-43 in the fifth minute of the second quarter before Curry exploded.
He had two lay-ups, two three-pointers and two free throws while contributing 12 points to a 14-0 Warriors run during a 3min 24sec stretch that opened a 58-43 advantage.
"You have those momentum plays where you start to open up the game," he said of his burst.
"You start to get a rhythm and your shot feels good, and you're getting some open ones... that's when the avalanche starts."
The Warriors went on to lead by as many as 23 in the quarter as he completed the 21st 20-point quarter of his career and the seventh 30-point half. He left the court for the intermission with 31 points.
He also single-handedly outscored the Bulls 26-21 in the second quarter.
Jordan Bell, the Warriors' top rookie this season after he was traded by the Bulls for US$3.5 million (S$4.7 million), made his first NBA start and had six blocks (the most in Golden State history for a rookie), seven points, six rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes
Jerian Grant had a team-high 21 points for the Bulls, who went winless on a four-game Western swing. Their 1-10 road record is the worst in the NBA.
In Cleveland, LeBron James notched another triple-double as the Cavaliers hung on to beat the Charlotte Hornets 100-99.
He finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists.
Cleveland guard Derrick Rose, however, is on leave while assessing his NBA future. He has missed the past seven games due to a sprained left ankle, the latest in a long list of ailments he has suffered during his career.
ESPN quoted a team source as saying Rose is "tired of being hurt and it's taking a toll on him mentally".
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE